Today You Are Four

The first snow of the year was on the day you were born. The snow, like my labour, had threatened to come for days, but had held off, teasing nervous drivers and weathermen alike with slate coloured skies and the ominous stillness that seems to precede the flakes. Nobody, it turned out, was threatened by my labour but you, something we knew only after my midwife had palpated my bulging stomach in concentrated silence, pursed lips alerting me that something was not as it should be.

You were nearly ten days overdue, and you were transverse. Again. But this time, we couldn’t wait for you to turn yourself around. This time, we had to go to the hospital. This time, birth was not going to be as planned.
Some might say that the snow, the unexpected hospital birth were a sign. I think they’re right, but the sign was not of something nefarious. The sign was that you, like the snow, would not be controlled, predictable. I could always speculate on how you would behave, react, respond, but I would not always be right.

And I am so much the better for it.

You, at four years old, are not the child I thought I would have. You came to me at a sad, confusing time, but you have given me not a moment of doubt or sadness. Fear, yes, laughter, yes, frustration, yes, joy, oh yes, and wonder, but never a moment of doubt.

You have surprised and delighted me every day of your life, from your ability to sleep so well as an infant and the shock of blonde, blonde hair you sprouted early, to your capacity for empathy and your ability to say sorry when you think you’ve done something wrong – not a trait you learned from me. Your sweetness is matched only by your absurd sense of humour, which, coupled with a laugh that could melt the steeliest of hearts, I am fortunate to get the chance to enjoy every day.

I hope I am doing well by you. I hope that I am nurturing your sensitive as well as your mischievous instincts, for those are things that I cherish in you most. I hope that you will always treat people and spiders with the love that you do at age four.

I hope that your sister will always be your best friend and that you will always say, Come here, you! before diving in for a hug. I hope that you will forgive me for telling you that your hair was darkening, and that you will continue to ask me to wipe away your tears. I hope you always want me to sing to you before bed.

I hope that we are giving you a cozy, safe childhood in a cozy, safe home. I hope you will always want to be here, or at least, to come back here. I hope you will eventually let me brush your hair without screaming.

I hope that, like the snow, or your birth, you will always remain unpredictable and in control of your own destiny. I hope you will always be as happy as you are today, the day you turn four. 



These are a few of my favourite things - Fall Edition

I have been searching for the perfect butternut squash soup recipe for ages, staying true to recipes, tweaking recipes, forgetting recipes altogether and just winging it.  Well, I think I’ve finally found it. I made it on the weekend, and it was awesome. Fall perfection in a bowl. It even looks like fall. Dig in.

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
3 cups chicken or veggie broth (I used homemade chicken broth and I really think it’s what put this recipe over the edge)
1 small onion, diced
2 apples, chopped
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp curry powder
1 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400.
Place butternut squash chunks in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet
Drizzle generously with olive oil and roast for 20 minutes
Meanwhile, add apple, onion, broth and spices to the slow cooker
Add squash and cook on low 7 hours or high 4 hours
Before serving, puree with an immersion blender (or 1 cup at a time in a stand blender)
Dollop with sour cream or yogurt and sprinkle with roasted pepitas (optional)

* * *

There is nothing quite like the thrill of responding to a knock on the door and seeing a deliveryman standing there with a box for you. Especially when that box contains your new NAOT booties! Especially when that box containing your new NAOT booties arrives on the exact day you are going for your first GNO in a new town and you want to feel particularly good!

Just look at these!:

(mine are in brown, or more aptly, ‘Oak/Mother Earth/Hash’ – ha!)

These ankle-high wedge booties are made of the softest leather and suede I may ever have wrapped around my foot, and of course come with the removable cork and latex footbed – something I absolutely love about Naots. After less than a week of wear, they are already molding deliciously to my foot. I wore them trick or treating, and while hoofing it around the neighbourhood in brand new boots rarely ends well, I did not regret wearing them for a minute. Totally comfortable from the get-go. And I guarantee I will wear out before these boots will. After less than a week I have already scuffed both toes, but that is because I rush and am a klutz. I actually think they look even more rugged and handsome with the little scuffs, but I can easily fix them with a little protective polish.

I always like to order Naots in a style that is just a tiny bit outside of my comfort zone – a bit away from my usual. In the summer, it meant that I had to forgo my usual cutesy flats and opt for my Bonds, which I am so glad I did.

This season, it meant that I went away from last year’s pick, even though I was tempted to order something similar. But what I love is that there are so many styles to choose from. And although I’ll be enjoying my new Let’s Go boots for many months to come, I can’t wait until the next time that delivery man knocks on my door.

Full disclosure: I receive my NAOTs gratis, in exchange for raving about them here and wearing them, of course, but this is something I would do, and have been doing with NAOTs that I have paid for, for years. I love the product, I love the company, I love their PR firm, and I love the way they conduct themselves with bloggers and social media types. I’m picky about this type of thing, and Naot and Iambic are a great example of doing it right. 

* * *

Maybe it’s just that the weather is getting colder and I feel like hunkering down, but after a summer of pretty light reading, my bookshelf – virtual and real – runneth over. I don’t even know where to start. I’ve already finshed something old and something new, and have all of these in the queue:

What about you? What are some of your favourite things this autumn?

* * *